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AGA: Natural Gas Still Dominates New Housing Market

Natural gas' market share (including propane) of new single-family homes moved up another two percentage points to about 70% in 2003, and its share of the new multi-family housing market jumped about six percentage points to 51%, the American Gas Association (AGA) reported in its 56th annual Residential Natural Gas Market Survey.

However, net additions in residential gas customers totaled 720,000, which was down about 15% from 2002 levels, AGA determined. In addition, the overall market share for natural gas space heating in existing homes remained at 52%.

The total residential natural gas customer count was nearly 62 million in 2003, up about 1.2% from 2002 levels. About 62% of total U.S. households use natural gas or propane, and out of that total, about 84% use gas for heating.

"Gas heat remains the dominant choice for new home owners because it provides comfortable, efficient heat and is easy to use," said Bruce McDowell, AGA director of policy analysis. "In fact, more American homes are heated with gas than all other fuel types combined."

In total, about 967,000 single-family homes heated with gas were built in 2003, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. In the Midwest, 92% of new single-family homes in 2003 used gas. These are the other regional totals: West, 91%; Northeast, 70%; and South, 48%.

Natural gas' market share of the space heating market grew to 72% in the Midwest in 2003 from 71% in 2002. Natural gas also dominated in the West, where its market share of heating was up to 65% from 64% the previous year. It also added a percentage point to reach a 47% share in the Northeast, where fuel oil dominates the market. In the South, natural gas retained a 35% market share of the heating market, AGA said.

Copies of the AGA's survey (Catalog #F00005) can be ordered by calling (201) 966-1131. AGA members pay $30; all others pay $90.

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